Government’s intensified campaign against illegal and destructive mining had been one of the priority tasks which the Bureau had been implementing thru its regional offices. Last October 17, 2018, a joint Cease and Desist Order (CDO) and Search Warrant (SW) was served against alleged illegal small-scale miners in Barangay Pisompongan, Midsalip, Zamboanga del Sur.

Prior to the CDO and SW implementation, OIC, PENR Officer Ben Acana spearheaded an inter-agency coordination a day before with the regional line bureaus of MGB, as represented by embedded personnel, Ventrick Albano and EMB, together with other law enforcement agencies to ensure that issues and concerns were covered such as security concerns since the area is known to host extremist groups. The 53rd Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, Provincial Mobile Force Company, Zamboanga del Sur Provincial Police Office and the National Bureau of Investigation joined in the said coordination meeting and implementation. 

An ocular inspection of the area was also conducted during the CDO and SW implementation to inspect the extent of the damage to the environment.  As requested by the NBI, water samples were again collected for analysis to validate the previous result where presence of chemical/heavy metals were observed. The presence of the said chemical/heavy metals such as Mercury in the adjacent river system poses great danger to the community caused by the unregulated small-scale mining activity.

The Team recommended that a sustained and intensified surveillance, monitoring and apprehension must be regularly done to ensure that these alleged illegal small-scale mining activities will not occur anymore. It was also noted that future CDO document/s must be translated to local dialect so that locals can easily understand its content.